Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshios Vayakhel-Pikudei

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Shemos (35:35) it is written that Hashem says that "He filled them up with a wise heart" (in order to perform the tasks of building the Mishkan. The Medrash states that we learn from here that Hashem gives wisdom to people who already have wisdom. 

The Medrash then tells the story of a Roman matron who said to R' Yose Ben Chalafta - what is the meaning of the pasuk that Hashem gives wisdom to the wise - the wisdom is needed by the fools!

R Yose responded by asking her a question - if two people come to you and ask to borrow money and you only have one purse, do you give to the poor or the wealthy man? She responded that she would give to the wealthy man. He asked her why - doesn't the poor man need it more? She responded that if the poor man's business venture failed, he would not be able to pay the money back, whereas  the wealthy man would have other sources if he needed funds to repay her.

R Yose said to the woman - its the same by wisdom. Hashem says - why would I give wisdom to people who won't use it properly? So that they can sit in the stadiums and casinos and contemplate the events transpiring there? I will give it to the chamim instead as they will know what to do with it.

R' Frand asked - the mashal and nimshal don't align! The mashal is lending money where there is a concern that it won't be paid back. But here, its a gift, not a loan.

R' Frand answered by quoting the Nachlas Eliezer who explains that the chacham realizes that the wisdom is not his - its on loan from Hashem. Its the same with money or any other item that Hashem gives us. When we loan something, we want to make sure that it is taken care of and not taken for granted. So too, the chachma is appreciated by the wise man who knows that its all from Hashem.

R' Frand also said a vort on Parshas Pikudei where the Medrash states on the first pasuk (Aleh Pikudei) that Hashem said to the Jews - you angered me when you built the Golden Calf and said "Aleh Elohecha Yisrael" (Shemos 32:4), but by building the Miskhan you have atoned for the Egel.

R' Frand asked two questions on this Medrash: (1) Was the sin of the Golden Calf that they said this is the god, and not the creation of the Calf itself? (2) How does this Aleh correct or atone for the other Aleh?

R' Frand answered by quoting the Maharzu who teaches that the use of the word Aleh teaches that there is a sense of pride - look at this, how proud I am of it. We see this in Bereishis where Aleh is used in (2:4) in connection with the creation of the heavens and the earth.

This explains why Hashem was so upset - because the Jews in saying Aleh Elohecha are saying that they are proud of the Egel. This is juxtaposed with a Tzaddik who is seen sinning at night, one can be sure that by morning he already regrets what he did wrong.

Of course the Egel was wrong, but the dancing around and pointing at it with pride turned the act of creating the Egel out of desperation into an act that they were proud of which incensed Hashem. By then taking their money and using it to build Mishkan and proudly proclaiming that they built it, they atoned for their lauding the creation of the Egel.

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